Everything Sad is Coming Untrue

I was mowing the lawn when a friend called and shared some bad news. I should say he shared some more bad news. I hung up the phone and went back to mowing. I love my time in the yard. After many years of relentless depression it has become a place of joy. It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I could barely function. The grief was so heavy and I felt so useless that I retreated to the yard and mowed the grass just so I could accomplish something – anything – useful; something that would say I had some value. It was a pitiful declaration of being alive in spite of the weight of death inside me. I did not enjoy it, I only wanted to get it done. I was so sad all the time that everything tasted sad. There was no place to go that didn’t feel sad. There was nothing to see that didn’t look sad. Everything was sad. The yard was one of the few places I could swim in a sea of sorrow and, if not move forward, at least tread water. I used to shed a lot of tears while I worked in the yard. They were like juice from a crushed piece of fruit. The sorrow squeezed my heart so hard the tears just came.

While I mowed, I listened to an audiobook about Winston Churchill. He was familiar with depression to the point his loved ones set people to watch over him lest he give in to it. He lived in sad times with enough bad news in any given day to crush anyone. Did you know he cried a lot? It comes up again and again in the book. Churchill cried publicly. He cried without shame. Churchill’s tears. It makes me cry to think of it. And as far as I can tell, he had no reason to believe things would change. I mean he had no logical reason. He believed in spite of all the bad news. He spoke to the people with the facts. He spelled out the bad news. Then he told them they would prevail. There was something hard in him that did not break. He was crushed and sad and he cried and he did not break. He believed. When he told the people they would prevail, they believed it too. I think they believed it because he did. I can’t see any other reason why they should have believed it.

Mowing. Listening. I decided to switch to music. There was a song I wanted to hear. Everything Sad is Coming Untrue by Jason Gray. I listened and I mowed and I cried some more. But I cried the most when I heard these words:

Every winter breaks upon
The Easter lily’s bloom

This is the hard thing in me that’s not going to break. Depression couldn’t crush it; it only drove it deeper into my being. I died a thousand deaths in my yard. I attended the funeral for my happiness. But there was something in me that was not me. Everything else in me was pressed down into the ground; into the perpetual Narnian winter that knew no Spring.

Life is coming Alive
Death is destined to die
And love…

Love. It is love in me that could not be crushed. Not my love for others or love for my own life, not even my love for God could withstand the depths of the coal mine. It was His love for me that hardened to diamond in the emotional hydraulic press. God loves me. He loves me. I believe. I believe. I believe.

I’ve had enough bad news to last a long long time. People are sad all around me. People wonder if this war will flood over them. Can we prevail? Do not look away. Do not deny the bad news. Do not hold back your tears. It looks bad. It looks hopeless. We’ve suffered much loss. We expect more. Now. Let me tell you. We will prevail. We will. Believe with me. God loves us. He loves you. This isn’t another thing, it is the thing. Anyone presenting a war strategy that leaves Jesus out is sadly mistaken. Listen. God spoke to all of us in Jesus. He said it plainly. He made it simple enough for a child to grasp. He said I love you; all of you. Can we be friends again? Come back to the garden and this time, eat from the Tree of Life. That other tree was poison from the first bite and it is today. Listen. Stop eating from it. The knowledge of good and evil isn’t helping anyone. You eat it all day long. You feed yourself on your news and your social media and your politicians, and it’s made you sick and weak and given you a stomach ache. The other tree is right here. Life. Eat it. Take it in. All day long. Taste it. God loves me. God loves me. God loves me.

Broken hearts are being unbroken
Bitter words are being unspoken
The curse undone, the veil is parted
The garden gate will be left unguarded

Now let’s win. Let’s play like the outcome is assured. It is. Hate is a parasite and sorrow is the echo of the death of death. Love prevails because God is love. Easter is the proposal of heaven. Down on one knee God says “I love you, will you marry me?” The engagement is sealed. His promise ring around my finger is the Spirit of Christ. The wedding day is set. The celebration is here. Let’s put on wedding clothes while the bombs fall. Let’s declare that we are subjects of the King before we are citizens of a country, or members of a race, or constituents of a party. We are the beloved of God. What can they give us that compares? And how will they take away from us what heaven has proclaimed over us? We are begotten and beloved not buying and behaving. Listen. We are the change. Let heaven speak to you. Let it whisper. Let it shout. Let it resonate. Jesus repeats it. He doesn’t mind saying it again. He is like a lovesick suitor who cannot resist turning back to get another kiss and to say one more time “I love you.” He never tires of saying it and will say it until we hear it; say it till we believe it; say it till we feel it; say it till we know it; say it till everything sad comes untrue. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Could it be that everything sad is coming untrue?
Oh I believe that everything sad is coming untrue.
In the hands of the One who is making all things new.

When I sat down from my mowing I wrote this down. I realized it is already happening. I’ve already lived it here in this yard. His love for me is gently persuasive and the sadness is gone. I am helping Him to do it in my family, my work, my neighborhood. I know it will work for everyone. I know His love is the cure that runs in my veins. I rested from my labor and wiped the good sweat from my face. On my patio where I used to cry without hope, I smiled and watched my bluebirds building a nest.

The frozen rivers run
The death of winter comes undone
Whispers of Kingdom come
While the bluebird sings

Everything
Everything that I thought I knew
Everything
Everything sad is coming untrue

Voldemort and the Myth of No Good or Evil

“He is with me wherever I go,” said Quirrell quietly. “I met him when I traveled around the world. A foolish young man I was then, full of ridiculous ideas about good and evil. Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong I was. There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it… Since then, I have served him faithfully, although I have let him down many times. He has had to be very hard on me.” Quirrell shivered suddenly. “He does not forgive mistakes easily. (from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

Do you see the gaping hole in Voldemort’s world view?  There is no good or evil, he says and teaches his protege’, yet he is harsh and unforgiving when let down.  But what is the let down if not evil to Voldemort?  There is not such thing as a practical universalist.  If a person tells you they don’t believe in good or evil, go and let the air out of their car tire or trick them into giving you their pay check, then you’ll see they believe in evil.  No matter what we do all of us smuggle into our minds some standard against which we measure the world.  It is unavoidable.  It is the result of a created world, not a random one.3141025-hp-dh-part-2-lord-voldemort-26625098-1920-800

Can You Hear the Ring of Truth?

“Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, “Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.” But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’ ” So Elijah went. When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you come back?” ”
“A man came to meet us,” they replied. “And he said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you…” (2 Kings 1:2-6)

Think about the men sent out from the king to inquire about his health.  They meet a complete stranger on the road who tells them to go back to their king and tell him he is going to die.  Without even getting the name of the stranger they obey his words.  Either these messengers are stupid or they know truth when they hear it.  Since you have to believe their very lives are at stake it must be a case of good hearing.  There is a tuning fork within each person which resonates when struck by Truth.Church-bells-001

When All Else Fails Try Telling the Truth

newborn-hearing-screenRather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (Ephesians 4:15)

A great habit to be in when writing is this:  when you are really blocked and can’t seem to find the way forward, sit back and ask yourself ‘What do I really want to say here?”  It sounds stupid but it works.  It is easy to get lost trying to figure out how to say something just right and forget what we were saying in the first place.  This works in relationships too.  We get so wrapped up trying not to hurt someone’s feelings or making sure we say something perfectly.  Take a step back.  Assess the situation.  Feel what you really feel.  Think about what you’d really like the other person to know.  Say it as clearly and kindly as you can.  This is not only the “grown up” way to speak to each other, it is the way we help each other grow up into fullness in Jesus – both by the saying and by the hearing of truth spoken in love.

Great Marriage

A great marriage is not a marriage lacking in pain.  It is a marriage where pain is regularly transformed into growth and life through the application of grace.  It is a marriage which takes transformed pain and shares it with others in an offering of love to lead them to hope and truth.hands3

The One Note

20131007-211441.jpgThe street performer played a well worn guitar with chipped paint and strings darkened through too many years of use without replacement. He played any song a passerby asked him to sing. His repertoire seemingly endless. One day a man noticed a peculiarity, and he asked the old guitar man about it. “I notice when you play, no matter what song it is you never move your fingers on the frets. When I watch others play they are always changing the place where they put their fingers. Why is that?”
“It is simple,” said the man, all those other players, they’re all looking for the note I’ve found.”